Policies & Regulations

The Dog Control Act

The Dog Control Act 1996 was passed to make dog owners aware of their legal responsiblites as stipulated in the requirements of the Act. In so doing, the Act also ensures better provision for the care and control of dogs throughout

New Zealand.

Local Councils’ policies reflect this change by highlighting dog control, enforcement, prosecutions and responding to complaints rather than ensuring compliance with the Act.

Dog owners must ensure that all their dogs over the age of three months are registered annually by 31 July. Payments for dog registration can be made at your local Council offices from where a current dog registration tag is issued. 

It is important to remember that failure to register your dog is an offence against the Dog Control Act 1996 and will result in a fine not exceeding $300

Dog Control Offences

Despite being mans’ best friend, every dog has the potential to bite. As a responsible owner you should be aware of your legal obligations and the consequences to you should your dog attack people or other animals.

Because dog attacks are common in New Zealand, we have special laws and bylaws that dog owners must be aware of in order to help prevent recurring attacks.

You should be aware that:

As an owner you can be prosecuted and, if convicted, fined up to $3000 if your dog is responsible for a serious attack.

In addition you will be liable for any charges for any damages that occur.

Dogs risk being impounded and/or destroyed if they attack people, animals and protected wildlife.

Your dog will be required to wear a muzzle. If that requirement is not adhered to, you may be fined an additional $3,000 and your dog may be destroyed.

If an attack by your dog causes serious injury or death to a person, animal or protected wildlife, you may be liable for a prison term of up to three years and/or a fine of $20,000. and your dog would almost certainly be destroyed.

Any Animal Control Officer, Dog Ranger or Police Constable can enter premises to seize and impound a dog that is considered to be threatening the safety of any person or animal.

Probationary and Disqualified Dog Owners

As a dog owner, you will be classified as a probationary owner if:

You have received three or more infringement notices within a two-year period, or have been convicted of any offence under the Dog Control Act 1996. This means that:

The probationary owner status will apply for two years.

Any dog not registered at the time of the classification must be re-homed or disposed of within 14 days.

Any dog already registered may be kept by the owner but the registration fees may incur a 50% surcharge.

As a probationary owner you may be required to take dog owner education training and/or dog obedience classes.

Anybody who has received three or more infringement notices within a two-year period, or who has been convicted of any offence under the Dog Control Act 1996 may also be classified as a disqualified owner. This means that:

You may not be allowed to own a dog for up to five years from the time of disqualification.

Any dog owned by you as a disqualified owner must be re-homed or put down within 14 days. Transferring ownership of a dog to another person at the same address is not acceptable.

Any owner not adhering to these conditions may be fined up to $3,000 and have their disqualification period extended by a further five years.